October 24, 2016

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Created by popular request, this itinerary is for those who have time and the desire to really experience Cuba, in all of its passion and diversity. We fly from Havana to Santiago de Cuba and travel over land through Cuba’s oldest colonial villages and breathtaking shores. We will experience the most culturally rich of all of Cuba, winding our way to Havana, “Paris of the Antilles,” where we will celebrate New Year's Eve with Havana flair. 

We will personalize each trip itinerary based on how you answer your Participant Information Form. Additionally, know that while we do our best to adhere to our planned itineraries, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility, and changes to our scheduled activities may occur.

Day 1 - Wednesday, December 20: Havana We have taken care of you reservations, and we will greet you at the airport upon your arrival. From there we begin our tour of Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s home on the outskirts of Havana. Refresh with some freshly squeezed sugarcane juice (in cocktail form if desired). Afterward, we will check in to your casas for some R&R. We will meet before dinner to tour the Morro Fortress, Havana’s defense against British invaders, and then dine overlooking the city.

Day 2 - Thursday, December 21: Fly to Santiago de Cuba After checking you into your casas, we will begin with a walking tour from Plaza de Marti to the main street “Enramadas” (the longest pedestrian boulevard in Latin America), where we will have lunch at one of Santiago de Cuba’s most famous restaurants. This evening we will have a welcome cocktail and orientation on rooftop terrace of Hotel Casa Granda.

Day 3 - Friday, December 22: History and religion We will tour the Santa Iphigenia Cemetery, and learn about Cuba’s history with revolution after visiting the memorial to Cuba’s most famous poet, Jose Marti. After lunch we visit the famous Catedral de la Virgin del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint, where we will have a lecture from a professor of Cuban religion on the history of Santeria, the syncretism of Catholicism and the Yoruba religion of West Africa.

Day 4 - Saturday, December 23: Middle-of-the-road Holguin After a brief stop at Biran Farm, birthplace of the Castro family, we will check into our casas. After lunch we will do a small art walk, and then you will have the option to have a bicycle taxi tour of the city or challenge yourself by taking the 458 stairs to Loma de la Cruz, the best view of the city. Dinner will be at the restaurant known as having the best steak in the country.

Day 5 - Sunday, December 24: Agriculture and beach Start the day with refreshments and a tour of a typical small Cuban organic farm with a marvelous view of the valley. We will lunch at a hilltop restaurant overlooking the ocean. Afterwards, take a break at Guardalavaca Beach. When Christopher Columbus got his first glimpse of the Holguín coastline in 1492, he pronounced it “the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen.”

Day 6 - Monday, December 25: Camagüey, city of plazas and cathedrals. After arriving in Camagüey we will have lunch in one of Camagüey’s many plazas and then have an architectural tour of this charming, densely catholic city.

Day 7 - Tuesday, December 26: Art walk, meet the artists. Camagüey is a visually inspiring city, so it is no wonder that so many artists call it home. We will visit a few studios, where a few artists have graciously invited us in for a presentation of their work and a Q&A after. The afternoon is yours to meander the colonial streets.

Day 8 - Wednesday, December 27: Onward to charming, colonial Trinidad. An early morning departure for our trip to Trinidad. We will arrive in time to refresh before we dine to traditional music. For those who wish to stretch their legs, we will go to the show at the famous outdoor Casa de Musica.

Day 9 - Thursday, December 28: Tour the Plaza Mayor and a colonial Sugar Plantation. This morning we will have a brief walking tour of the colonial section of Trinidad. From there we will visit the famous Alfarero Ceramics studio, several generations deep in the ceramics tradition they imported from Spain. After lunch we will visit the San Isidro Sugar Plantation historical site for a guided tour. Siesta, and then dinner with live music.

Day 10 - Friday, December 29: Bay of Pigs, Playa Larga. After some free time to explore the street markets along the cobblestone streets, we head out to Playa Larga. We will check into casas on the beach, and then spend a day of relaxation at Caleta Buena, a cenote in Playa Larga. We will be serenaded as we dine at a restaurant on the beach.

Day 11 - Saturday, December 30: Cienaga de Zapata UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The morning begins with an optional birding excursion in Cienaga de Zapata. Afterward, we depart for Havana! After a brief visit to Finca Vígia, Hemingway's Havana home, where he wrote Old Man and the Sea, we will get you checked in. We will visit Cuba Libro Project, the only English-language bookstore in Cuba, and a place for young Cubans to congregate and exchange ideas with foreign visitors. Conner Gorry, American journalist and founder of the project, will give a brief presentation and Q&A regarding current events in Cuba. Tonight we will dine with Cuban professionals at the famous Cuban Art Factory (Fabrica de Arte Cubano).

Day 12 - Sunday, December 31: Walking Tour of Old Havana. After a brief stroll along the Prado Art Walk, we will begin our walking tour of breathtaking Havana Vieja with artist Jesus Magan. We will visit an art studio, and lunch in one of the squares. This afternoon we will tour Bellas Artes Cubano, Cuba's national collection of fine art. You will have some free time to relax this afternoon before we ring in the New Year with Cuban friends.

Day 13 - Monday, January 1 (Cuba's Independence Day): Optional: early morning rise to visit the Plaza de la Revolución for the parades honoring workers' rights and Cuba's labor unions, bussed in from all over the country. For those of you leaving today, we will get you to the airport and checked in for your flight. 

For those staying, we will head out to verdant Viñales Valley!

Day 14 - Tuesday, January 2: Tungasuk Family Farm, and jazz by the lively Roberto Fonseca. After breakfast and free time to stroll the small street market, we return to Havana, stopping by to visit the friendly folks at Tungasuk family farm for a generous farm-to-table lunch. We’ll eat at one of Havana’s finest tonight with Cuban friends, and catch a live jazz show by the famous Roberto Fonseca.

Day 15 - Wednesday, January 3, 2018: Playas del Este, the beaches east of Havana. Today is your day to unwind from the amazing journey that we shared. This will be an opportunity to unwind and to say farewell. We have hired a massage therapist to pamper each of you on your last day here. We will have a catered lunch and dinner, and quite likely, live traditional Cuban music. Tonight we celebrate eat at one of Cuba's finest restaurants with some of the Cuban friends we have made.

Day 16 - Thursday, January 4, 2018: Departure. After breakfast and a free morning to explore Havana a bit on your own, we will take you to the airport and ensure that you are checked in for your flight.

What’s included?

Airfare from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, accommodations, all group meals, museum/club entry fees, expert guides, ground transportation, bottled drinking water, and other group costs are covered. Additionally, gratuities for restaurant service, drivers, and general group activities is included (travelers may tip guides and musicians as you deem appropriate based on your satisfaction). We will connect you with our experienced travel agent to arrange air transportation to/from Cuba, or you may research your own flight to Cuba. Upon registration, we will send you a pre-trip information packet to help inform you and prepare you for an amazing cross-cultural experience. We take care of as much as possible so that you can relax. Price is per person, double occupancy. 

We usually limit each trip to a maximum of 8 travelers (for comparison, most other Cuba tour companies cap groups at 20 people). We prefer to keep group numbers small in order to ensure an authentic cultural experience. You will thank us later.

Soltura is a Spanish word that loosely translated means with confidence, fluently, with ease. We pride ourselves on leading culturally-immersive tours with a focus on the arts and culture of Cuba, going above and beyond to ensure that our travelers have comfortable, yet truly enriching cultural experiences. Along the way, we will introduce you to some interesting people who will help inform your experiences in Cuba. You may create some lasting friendships on this journey, and you will certainly create a lifetime of memories.

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